Dead Island: Epidemic MOBA Shutting Down

As if it weren’t already clear that the world is not desperately short of F2P MOBAs, and that dressing a game in the clothes of a known brand isn’t attractive enough to players, another branded arena ’em up is closing.

Dead Island: Epidemic [official site], a MOBA-y spin-off from the open-world zombie-slaying FPS-RPG, will close next month, publishers Deep Silver have announced. The game will never have left open beta testing.

“Ever since starting with the Closed Alpha, and all the way through the Closed Beta and Open Beta, we’ve received a great amount of useful criticism and encouraging feedback from our players. This has been invaluable for all the teams involved in developing the game,” say Deep Silver. “Over the past weeks and months we’ve been evaluating how to proceed with Dead Island: Epidemic and looking towards the future for the game. We’re sad to announce today that we’ve come to the conclusion to cease further development.”

I believe that’s a long-winded way of saying it wasn’t making enough money.

Deep Silver will keep the servers running until October 15th, then shut down. Until then, characters and boosts are heavily discounted so people can see more and spend their virtuapennies before it goes away. Before entering open beta, Epidemic sold access in bundles with microtransaction guff.

While Techland created and made the first Dead Island, their publishers Deep Silver own the rights and had hoped to turn it into a major franchise. That has not gone too well. Escape Dead Island was awful, something funny’s afoot with Dead Island 2 with developers Yager being taken off it, and now Epidemic is closing. They’d wanted the same for Ride to Hell too, launching a barrage of games, and… well! Take it easy, Deep Silver. Slow down. Make good games first, treat them well, then see if they naturally grow – forcing it is evidently not working.

33 Comments

  1. mpk says:

    I played a couple of hours of the beta when it first appeared. My first fleeting impressions were of Just Another Grindfest, but it seemed to be more Left4Dead Island than MOBA.

  2. Iajawl says:

    Sad about this. Not surprised but sad. This game was the most fun I’ve had in a moba in a long time. Not really surprised though. The choices they made early on back from the alpha-beta and early open beta weren’t good choices.
    I railed long and hard on the steam forums about what I perceived this issues to be and I was told by the “true fans” to please stop being a hater (in much less polite terminology). Being right about the flaws ultimately makes me sad. I was hoping that once it left early access enough of a new player base would come and if they had improved things that maybe people would stay.
    Why do all of my favourite MP online games die. Also why on earth does RPS have an American spellcheck activated for the comments.

    • Premium User Badge

      basilisk says:

      It’s your browser settings, not RPS. Any spellcheck runs client-side, not server-side.

      • Iajawl says:

        Thanks ! I guess this means I can fix it if I work out how.

      • elmuerte says:

        It is RPS’ fault as it claims to be: lang=”en-US”

        • Iajawl says:

          Yeah I went to my browser settings and went from USA to actual English. I am still getting spellchecked for words like armour.

    • j3w3l says:

      Same thing here – enjoyed the coop pve side a lot but there were issues and every time you brought them up the bandwagon on the forums would immediately shout you down

  3. BrandeX says:

    Too many MOBA’s and not enough people to care about this one to support operating it.
    link to steamcharts.com
    That’s pretty poor for a global playerbase if it needs servers (never played it). IF it’s P2P like the crappy GOME, they could have left it running indefinitely.

  4. Jalan says:

    Deep Silver should really consider closing up the book on Dead Island entirely for a good while. Of course, that’s never going to happen when even the smallest chance of money is to be had.

    • OmNomNom says:

      Agreed, I’m surprised they kept this game running this long even.

  5. El_MUERkO says:

    There is an upper limit to how many MOBA’s the market can take. There are only so many people willing to put in the time to play them, that’s why really polished MOBA’s like Strife are near dead.

    If I were Deep Silver I’d use the engine and assets to make a COOP ARPG, the IP would work better in such a setting and you’ve already got a tonne of art for it.

    • Jalan says:

      I was honestly surprised that Infinite Crisis closed down before Dead Island: Epidemic did. Then again, I suspect strongly that pressure from Warner Bros. helped speed along IC’s demise and Dead Island: Epidemic didn’t have to worry about the same.

  6. skyturnedred says:

    “dressing a game in the clothes the dressing of a known brand”

  7. Hunchback says:

    MOBA, the MMO of the 2010s …

    What do you guys think the next major “clone bandwagon” in gaming will be?
    So far we’ve been through FPS, RTS, MMO and MOBAs…

    • Iajawl says:

      Have you played DIE ? Calling it a clone of other MOBA games is disingenuous at best.

      • Hunchback says:

        No, i barely have the time to play the GOOD games, if at all… Can’t spend any on shit things like that :)

        • Iajawl says:

          Well DIE was the most fun I have had playing a MOBA since the good old days when the only MOBA was WC3 Dota. It wasn’t a typical moba. Didn’t have lanes. Didn’t have towers. Didn’t have in game farming. Had three teams. Whatever you want to call it, it wasnt a clone of anything else.

    • Ljud says:

      I would say the next thing is already here. Survival games like DayZ, Rust, ARC…
      The only thing is that the big publishers haven’t put out their own game.
      And cartoony shooters is also becoming a thing.

      • lglethal says:

        Easy. Mobile games are the next bandwagon. Even if they are sh*t, every one and his dog is releasing mobile games now.

        What comes after mobile? No idea…

      • Aetylus says:

        Survival games have already been and gone, along with the take-a-game-and-add-zombies genre. Do-everything-open-worlders is currently at its peak…. as soon as some journalist comes up with a tagline that stick (monogames is the best I’ve heard), we’ll notice the plethora of crap monogame being generated over the next few years.

        Basic formula is company makes a new game that is wildly popular. Financial departments demand that polished clones be made (because for some reason moneymen in creative industries fail to that people don’t like X type of game, they like innovative games). The first two big players to hit the clone market make big bucks, the next two make some money, and by the time the rest have got around to it every man learning to code has already made a F2P unity version.

        If you were to check the recent hits by smaller companies, the next wave of clone games we will be flooded with is vehicle-sports, or add-dinosaurs-to-everything.

    • Baines says:

      Any genre that has a success story is ripe for a cloning bandwagon.

      Fighting games in the 90s, GTA3 clones, YouTube bait cheap horror titles, zombie survival games, Flappy Bird, …

      If something makes money, then you are going to have a bunch of bandwagon jumpers making their own games in the same genre, believing that it is a source of easy money (and ignoring that at best they’ll probably instead be fighting a hundred other developers for the crumbs.)

  8. priest865 says:

    I really liked Dead Island and Dead Island Riptide. When they released news about a MOBA I immediately knew that a MOBA was not the right direction. I really never liked MOBAs in the first place. They should have concentrated on creating a good Dead Island sequel instead of milking the franchise.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yeah. I want more Dead Island (with some tweaks, at least), but not in this format.

  9. RegisteredUser says:

    When I played it was basically co-op PvE?

    It wasn’t the worst thing, just didn’t feel epic or satisfying enough directly to warrant sticking with it while risk of wipes, bugs and other things were still around.
    It actually wasn’t bad as a casual pasttime, but I guess they didn’t manage to put enough attraction into it to warrant spending so much time in it you’d pay something for anything.

  10. therighttoarmbears says:

    You know what would really class them up? And the Dead Island franchise a whole bunch of street cred it’s never had? And be really awesome? Open-source this failed MOBA, and creative-commons the art (or whatever). Let the community have it! I know of nothing more symbolic for a zombie game than having their assets live on after the game’s death, forever wandering the land in search of new games to infect. Plus, what’re they going to use it for?

  11. Caladell says:

    Well. Maybe now those 5 copies of it sitting in my Steam inventory will disappear.
    I never did try it the whole time I had it. Always meant to, but I’m really not into MOBAs

  12. Bobtree says:

    Dead Island Epidemic was a fun little game, but I didn’t play much or pay anything for it because it’s still beta. They cancelled this during Early Access! If they removed the F2P grinding and just sold a fun and polished 3v3v3 arena-moba for $5 or $10, I might have picked it up at some point. Oh well.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Yeah. The co-op was euuugh…Diablo 3 or w/e but without the satisfying progression and with weak gameplay besides.

      The 3v3v3 may not have had the best gameplay but it was brilliantly designed mode which wound up being very fun regardless. A mode like that in a game which plays better would be absolutely brilliant.

  13. Thornback says:

    I say put this alongside the recently announced closing of Moonrise, since they both should have just come out of early access, instead of just saying “whelp nobody is giving us cash, better close up shop.”

    Both of these were basically feature complete, but that Early Access tag definitely puts people off till the real release.

  14. Giftmacher says:

    That’s not a Bauhaus reference in the image text, is it?

    • TheAngriestHobo says:

      Huh. I didn’t catch that. Good eye.

      “The bats have left the belltower,
      The victims have been bled
      Red velvet lines the black box,
      Bela Lugosi’s dead…”

  15. vahnn says:

    This game sucked the big one.

    If you want to be sad about a great MOBA that really did things differently and had some great gameplay but was abandoned by the devs due to low sales and population (probably because of literally 0 advertising), then weep with me about Stellar Impact.